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Pasquale Macaluso

Abstract

Riḥlah bayna al-jibāl fi maʿāqil al-thāʾirīn was serialized in the Jaffa newspaper Al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah towards the end of the 1936 Palestine revolt. Under the guise of a reportage by a Western journalist, the series successfully defied British censorship and published interviews with guerrilla commanders and rank-and-file rebels, and one of Fawzī al-Qāwuqjī’s communiqués. Following the main trend of literary reportage at that time, the author adopted a viewpoint focused on the rebels’ cause and emphasized the ability of the Arabs of Palestine to face the challenges of modernity. The narrator comments on the skills and virtues of rebel leaders and common people, rejecting the dehumanizing image that colonial officials and Western newspapers were making of them, and romantically depicting the nighttime Palestinian landscape. At the same time, the description of the insurgents’ organization projects the picture of an orderly society, equipped with the institutions and symbols that typically define modern states.

Kirsten Beck

Abstract

Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī’s (d. 971) Kitāb al-Aghānī chapter on Majnūn Laylā (“Akhbār Majnūn Banī ʿĀmir wa nasabuh”) confronts its audience with unresolving divergent knowledge about Majnūn. We are left not only wondering about his name, his origin, and his mental state, but also his being—does he even exist? This paper examines the potential impact of Iṣbahānī’s selection and presentation of akhbār in this Aghānī chapter, making a case for a literary approach to Iṣbahānī’s text fitting with the medieval concept of adab. It asserts that the line of questions we are compelled to ask about Majnūn implicates us in his madness and the madness of the text, which disrupts and complicates that which appears most essential to his story.

Rachel Friedman

Abstract

Islamic theology has normatively considered the Qurʾān to be the Islamic miracle par excellence. This article reads a formative treatise on the topic, Kitāb Iʿjāz al-Qurʾān by Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013), in light of literary debates over badīʿ poetry in the early Abbasid era. It argues that al-Bāqillānī’s theorizing of the Qurʾān’s literary-rhetorical excellence is best understood in this context, demonstrating that his articulation of aesthetic priorities was shaped by the controversy over badīʿ poetry. In particular, the influence of Abbasid literary discourse is evident in the manner in which al-Bāqillānī champions the clear communication of meaning over ornamentation in texts, showing how contemporaneous literary trends and debates shaped Abbasid iʿjāz al-Qurʾān discourse.

Juanita Feros Ruys

Abstract

This essay contributes to the alternative history of empathy by complicating the current state of scholarship placing the birthplace of modern Western empathy in the European Middle Ages. In counterpoint, the essay argues that there endured throughout the Middle Ages a suspicion of empathy as a feeling state and a prompt to right action. This position was inherited from the ancient Stoics and was particularly expressed by the medieval philosopher-theologians known as the Scholastics. In making this case, the essay focuses on the Medieval Latin term compassio and takes as its material the writings of Bonaventure, scholastic exegesis of the Christian foundation myths of the fall of humans and the evil angels, and scholastic analyses of almsgiving.

Paolo Gervasi

Abstract

The article analyses two literary texts by the Italian writer Carlo Emilio Gadda: the anti-fascist satire Eros e Priapo, written between 1944 and 1945; and the novel Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana, first published in 1946. The deformed descriptions of the human figure in these texts are contextualised alongside a collection of anti-fascist caricatures from the same period, Enrico Gianeri’s Il Cesare di cartapesta (1945), and read as emotional symptoms of ongoing social conflicts. In fascist Italy, the representation of the body becomes the battlefield where a few resisting emotional communities contrast the strict management of public sentiment performed by the regime. In this context, deformations of the image of Mussolini and fascist society can be interpreted as performances of anger that deconstruct the official emotional regime and reveal the regime of fear on which fascism built its power.